“I was on a run today and an old man on the trail stopped me and asked, ‘Are you running away from home?’ and I went ‘No’ and kept going.” Spend enough time with graduating fourth-year Sabrina Marshall and you will hear plenty of anecdotes just odd enough to capture the weirdness of being in college, of being an adult but still very much a child, and of just trying to figure out how this weird world works.
When she is not running or ignoring old men with false assumptions, Marshall spends much of her time in the Quaker Campus (QC) office giving her blood, sweat, and sanity to this publication. At the QC, she has been a copy editor, an A&E editor, and is the current Managing Editor. In addition to this time-consuming position, she runs the QC’s social media, is majoring in English, minoring in Theatre and Communication Arts and Psychology, and has been the Assistant Stage Manager for a few of the Theater Department’s productions, such as this year’s rendition of Hamlet.
Marshall began working for the QC as a second-year, and she quickly found that one of the greatest benefits of this on-campus job is meeting lifelong friends. “I’ve made some of my closest friends at the QC, and, man, you get into some Wednesday production night shenanigans, you don’t not be friends after that. You don’t go fight a mountain troll and then not be friends afterwards. It’s like that,” she said, referencing a moment in Harry Potter. “The QC is our mountain troll.”
Despite referring to her job at the QC as a “mountain troll,” she also recognizes that her work for the newspaper has been an incredible experience. “I’m going to miss constantly learning something with the different positions I’ve had,” Marshall said. “I’ll miss getting to learn something that I constantly get to apply every week.” It would probably be an understatement to say that she has a complicated, love-hate relationship with the newspaper. A dynamic that she advises prospective staff to know: “You’re just going to get so much out of it if you put the effort into it. You’re going to suffer, but you’re going to be happy about it,” making her second Harry Potter reference within a fifteen minute interview.
As Marshall prepares to say goodbye to Whittier College, she hopes to take the skills she learned at the Quaker Campus with her to the next step in her career. She plans to move back to her hometown of Pleasant Hill, CA, which is near the Bay Area, and to take a gap year before applying to graduate programs. While she hopes to continue her passionate study of linguistics, she can see herself returning to the roots sewn at the QC. “I’m probably going to go into journalism somehow,” Marshall said. “Either in copywriting, copy editing, or doing social media.”
As graduation draws nearer, Marshall has an outlook that is relatively optimistic. “There’s a whole lot of world out there,” she said with a shrug. “There’s a whole lot of life to live.” Despite her fear of the terrifying vastness of that statement, despite the years the QC has probably taken off her life, despite an old man who thinks a young woman in workout clothes is literally running away from home, despite all of that — she will keep going.
The winds of change are coming as fourth-year Leah Boynton reaches graduation. Boynton is double-majoring in English and Theater and Communication Arts, and minoring in Sociology. Whittier College has combined challenges and opportunities that greatly impacted Boynton’s journey. She selected Whittier College for the small environment, community, and class sizes. “I wanted a place that had a community feel to it,” said Boynton. Through the Admissions Office and upperclassmen she spoke to, Boynton knew that Whittier held great opportunities and exploration for her.
During Boynton’s first year, she felt overwhelmed as the First-Year Class President, a member of the Dance Team, and a full-time student. Coming from San Ramon, CA — a six-hour drive between the College and the Bay Area — she recognized a disadvantage she had. “I didn’t have that flexibility to just go home, like I knew a lot of my friends who were commuters did,” said Boynton. She missed home and was not used to being away from her family and the familiarity of home.
“What really helped me transition was the mentors that I found,” said Boynton. There was 2015 alumna Vicki Mercado-Evans, Associate Director for Housing & Residential Life Joe Melendez, and other honorable mentions who gave Boynton a wider perspective in school. “It was people like them that really supported me here and encouraged me to continue to love Whittier College and to give as much to it as I could,” said Boynton. “That’s what really encouraged me to give back to Whittier and pursue further activities on campus.”
As Boynton settled into the College, she found that opportunities lay under the stress. “I gave myself the chance to seek out opportunities and make the most of the situations I was in,” said Boynton. “A big thing about Whittier College is that you get as much out of it as you give.” Over her four years, Boynton has been a member of Associated Students of Whittier College (ASWC) Senate, College Choir, and other various honor societies and organizations that have made her a true member of the Whittier community.
As someone once told her, “closed mouths don’t get fed.” Boynton carried that lesson onward. “When you have a question, ask it. When you want to help, offer it. When you want to be a leader, step up. Give yourself those chances and continue to seek out opportunities for yourself,” said Boynton. She carved a space for herself on campus and worked to make her own Poet path.
Boynton is glad to have her five best friends in her life because of their constant love and support throughout her busy schedule. “They are my backbone when I need someone there to get me to relax and take some time for myself, and to unwind,” said Boynton. She also has the faith of administrators and professors that challenged and supported her. “Professors know your first name, and they care about who you are … I’m so lucky to have had so many great mentors, that it’s going to be really hard to leave them,” said Boynton.
After graduation, Boynton will attend Boston College in Massachusetts, for a Masters of Arts in Higher Education and Administration. She will also be working as a Programing Graduate Assistant in the Residential Life Office. “I’m really excited for new people, meeting people who have similar interests like me, new professors, making new mentors,” said Boynton. There is a promise of brand new opportunities and experiences as she shadows her colleagues, and helps undergrad students find their way to become new leaders of tomorrow.
Boynton also looks forward to the journey of a new city. “Boston is an incredible place. Just visiting, I felt so at home in this city. It’s a big city, but it’s clean, and it’s friendly. There is so much to do and see,” said Boynton. “I’m kind of looking forward to the snow. I’m not going to lie. A lot of people are like, ‘are you ready for the cold weather?’, and I’m not prepared, but I’m excited anyways.” Boynton is on a path to a great change.
Boynton will miss the Whittier community and the life that she has built. As she leaves Quaker Campus, she recalls her first article being for the Opinions page on how to make Whittier home. “I was in this rut my first year of not being happy with being at Whittier and wondering if it was the place for me,” said Boynton. Charging with a positive mindset allowed her to live an unforgettable journey at Whittier that has prepared her for the next chapter in her life.